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Carlsberg to brew Japan’s Sapporo beer in Malaysia

Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad has entered a strategic agreement with Japan’s Sapporo Group across Malaysia and Singapore.

Carlsberg to brew Japan's Sapporo beer in Malaysia

The Danish multinational brewer’s Malaysian arm has entered a Licence Agreement and Distributorship Agreement with Sapporo Breweries Limited, a renowned Japanese company listed in the Prime Market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

In Malaysia, Carlsberg has secured the license agreement to brew and manufacture Sapporo Premium Beer. Effective from 1 January 2024, the Group will produce, sell, market, and distribute the beer across all channels in the country, including duty-free zones. The agreement has been made under a five-year contract with an automatic renewal of three years, unless either party provides written notice of non-renewal.

In Singapore, Carlsberg Singapore Pte. Ltd. and its subsidiary, Maybev Pte. Ltd., have gained rights to the distribution for two of the Japanese brewer’s beers — Sapporo Premium Beer and Yebisu Beer. Carlsberg Malaysia’s distributor agreement in Singapore will also be effective for five years starting from 1 January 2024, with an automatic renewal for one year, unless either party provides written notice of non-renewal.

Stefano Clini, managing director of Carlsberg Malaysia, said the two companies were “embarking on a beneficial journey” which would help Calsberg in its goal of “unleashing premiumisation to new heights”.

“We are confident that Sapporo Premium Beer will complement our premium beers offering. We are also excited to invite Japanese beer enthusiasts to taste the locally-brewed fresh Sapporo Premium Beer in the coming months,” he said.

Carlsberg Malaysia is collaborating with key stakeholders for the transition and in-market executions of Sapporo beer in both Malaysia and Singapore.

In 2022, Carlsberg Group CEO Cees ‘t Hart announced that the Shah Alam brewery in Malaysia was due to receive a sizeable investment.

During his visit, ‘t Hart said: “Malaysia is one of the key growth drivers in Asia for the Group. I’m very proud that Carlsberg Malaysia is agile, resilient and safely navigated the storm and emerged stronger than ever, throughout the pandemic.”

Growing markets

Revenue in Malaysia’s beer market amounts to US$297.3m in 2024, according to Statista. Despite being a Muslim majority country, Malaysia permits the sale of alcohol to non-Muslims, and the market is expected to grow annually by 5.10% (CAGR 2024-2028).

Singapore’s beer market is also expected to grow, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.84% over the same four-year period. Revenue in the beer market amounts to US$255.3m in 2024.

The two countries have some of the highest tax rates on alcohol in the world.

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